Diyarbakır Province is geographically situated in the Southeast Anatolia, between Eastern Anatolia and the place named as Upper Mesopotamia. Diyarbakır City, which is placed between 37º 30′ and 38º 43′ north latitudes and 40º 37′ and 41º 20′ east longitudes, has a population of 1.528.958 according to the data of TÜİK ( Turkish Statistical Institute). The economy of Diyarbakır, which has a harsh and arid climate, depends on agriculture. Having been home to various folks and communities in history, the population of the city mainly comprises of Kurds. Apart from the Kurds, various ethnic and religious communities like Turks, Arabs, Alawites and Armenians live in the city, as well. Due to these aspects, it has always been an important center throughout history for civilizations and for being an intersecting point of significant trade roads. Çayönü(Girê/Qotê Berçem) an archaeological dwelling area in Diyarbakır/ Ergani, is among the oldest places of settled life with its 10.000-years history. Diyarbakır is located at the center of the “Fertile Crescent” where the social protest known as the “Neolithic Revolution” was experienced in other settlement areas, of the region, like Göbeklitepe, Newala Çorê, Çemê Hallanê. Always having been the center, Diyarbakır is a place where civilization emerged and spread according to the latest archaeological findings. It is on the significant trade roads such as the Silk Road.
Having a 8000-year history, the historical area Suriçi, is still a place where intensive trade activities continue. Having always been an important city in the periods of subsequent civilizations and states like Hurrian- Mittani, Assyrians, Arami, Urartians, Scythians, Medians, Persians, Macedonians, Seleucids, Parthians, Great Tigran Kingdom, Sasanians, Byzantines, Emevis, Abbasids, Seyhogullari, Hamdanids, Marwanids, Seljuks, İnalogullari, Nisanogullari, Artuqids, Ayyubids, Mongols, Akkoyunlus, Safavids and Ottomans; Diyarbakır is still a regional center as before.
Dicle River, also called “Tigris” in western sources, starts from Hazar Lake via the waters leaking through the Eastern Anatolian Mountains. It is fed from small rich watercourses like Batman, Garzan, Anbarçayi, Big and Little Zap streams. After merging with Fırat (Euprates) river 64 km at the upper part of the Basra, it is named Shatt al-arab and pours into the Persian Gulf. It is told that the course of the Dicle River was drawn by the Prophet Daniel. According to the Kurdish belief, Dicle River, with Aras, Zap and Fırat Rivers; are the four rivers of Heaven and known as the road to God.
Walled Town History of the fortress / walled town
Having an 8000-years history according to the archaeological excavations, Diyarbakır is an ancient city in which there has never been an interruption in the process of life. Diyarbakır Fortress, being the most beautiful sample of the defensive constructions in the Anatolia; is located at the Eastern edge of a large basaltic Plateau, spreading from Karacadağ to Dicle, which is situated on a broad plain. As its construction date is unknown, it is estimated that it was built by Hurrians B.C. 3000. Resembling a turbot fish from air view, the city walls are embellished with scriptures and contain traces of carvings and reliefs of the nearly 30 ruling civilizations. Due to this, it is called as “Open Scriptures Museum” by Albert Gabriel. The City consist of two parts, namely the Inner and Outer Castle. The Inner Castle having been constructed at the northeast edge of the Diyarbakır Walls; gained importance with the construction of the city walls by Romans and has been the special administrative center in each era.
The mound, which is called as Amida Mound in archaeological literature; is the first center where the city was established. According to the studies of the surface, it was dated to B.C. 6000 but the exact date of the foundation of the city is uncertain. The city, whose founding date is uncertain, its Fortress was restored and the city was surrounded by the walls by Roman Empire Constantine II. in A.C 349. Thus, having gained its general shape. Diyarbakir Fortress came to modern days after extensions and restorations by various dominant civilizations throughout the date. The town wall is 5.7 km long, 10-12 m tall and 2-5 m wide. It has 82 bastions, square, polygon, and circle planned, and the most magnificent ones, with their scriptures and tablets, are:
Dağkapı Burcu (Dağkapı Bastion)
Yedi Kardeş Burcu
Outer Fortress has four gates, which are masterpieces of the history of architecture, opening to four directions:
In the North; Dağ Kapı (Harput Kapı)
In the West; Urfa Kapı (Rum Kapısı)
In the South; Mardin Kapı (Tell Kapısı)
In the East; Yeni Kapı (Dicle or Su Kapısı)
Outer Castle Walls used to be surrounded by “a second wall”. It is understood from the registries that there was a large and deep moat between two walls and water inside. But, Outer Walls were demolished in 1232 by Sultan Melik Kamil of Ayyubids and its stones were used in the restoration of today’s town walls. Traces of these outer walls can be seen at some points.
Opportunities and challenges of Diyarbakir:
Current city projects- Advantages
Conservation Implementation Plan: New plan preparation process was begun in 2008 by the decision taken by the Assembly of Metropolitan Municipality of Diyarbakir and the approval of the Regional Protection Council. 1/5000, 1/1000, 1/500 scaled projects were approved in 2012.
Landscaping of the surrounding areas of the Town Walls: Landscaping project of the historical Diyarbakir Town Walls Project comprehends the removal of the unlicensed constructions and a green belt for protection on a 3.5 km long and 123.570 m² area.
Inner Castle Museum Project (Core part of the Fortress) : The Inner Castle was designed and functionalised as Museum Area in the direction of ensuring protection-usage balance via preparation of relief, restoration, restitution projects of the constructions in the Inner Castle by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
Removal of the constructions in the Inner Castle which are shadowing its silhouette: as a supplementary project, 352 squatter houses will be removed and Arkeopark will be functionalised via the collaborative project of the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, Sur Municipality, TOKI (Turkish Mass Housing Administration) and Governorate.
Dicle Valley Project: The main approach of the project is to turn Diyarbakır into a regional sport center via configurations on Dicle River and Valley, and thus give prominence to sport and recreation in the cultural and social development of the city. The area in front of the Wall is handled with a designing approach, taking the natural and historical environmental landscaping characteristics into consideration, which will not mask the cultural values of the area and which will prevent the potential harm of the weeds growing on the walls.
Functionalisation of the Bastions of the Fortress via restoration: It is aimed to ensure the use for various purposes of the Bastions of the Fortress which has aesthetic and artistic significance.
Completion of the infrastructure of the Suriçi Area: With the works of the Metropolitan Municipality of Diyarbakır, infrastructure of Suriçi Area was completed.
Documentation of the Town Walls: Detection studies related to Diyarbakır Fortress were completed.
Multi-storey buildings preventing the perception of the Fortress Structure
There are technical people; like architect, art historian, archaeologist, urban planner, urban designer, civil engineer in KUDEB (Protection and Application of Cultural Values ) Branch of Housing and Urban Development Department of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality .
Studies to create a Site Management Plan have been started.
International credits and funds for the realization of the renovation projects of the settlements inside the Fortress City.
Support for the promotion of Diyarbakır Fortress at international platform
With Site Management Plan’s application process, establishment of a cooperation in order to be on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Organization of international symposiums related to Diyarbakır Fortress.
Atty. Osman BAYDEMIR
Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality Mayor
Mr. Murat ALOKMEN
Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality
Head of Housing and Urban Development Department
+90 412 229 4880 – 413
Ms. Zeynep Sıla AKINCI
Urban Designer& Landscape Architect
Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality
Site Management Unit
+90 412 229 4880 – 308
Ms. Ebru OKMEN
Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality
International Relations Department
+90 412 223 4623
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